Chocolate Cereals Ranked Worst To Best

There's little question that if you're going to indulge in sugary breakfast cereal, something chocolate is the best choice among the most popular cereals on the shelf. It's like getting away with eating dessert for breakfast. It doesn't have to be dessert or breakfast, though. Chocolate cereal is as much an anytime snack as chips or crackers, but with a chocolatey touch that feels like decadence. Whether soaked in milk until soft or picked straight from the box and enjoyed as a dry snack, chocolate cereal can be a real day saver when sugary joy is in short supply, even with no toy surprise at the bottom of the box.

Considering the tasty goodness waiting inside, it might seem like there's no way to make a bad selection. And clearly, chocolatey cereals are not healthy overall. But there are bound to be winners and losers when it comes to flavor. We gathered up the best and brightest from the breakfast world to see how certain selections fare. While each player brings its own special flair to the table, there's a hierarchy to these cereal contenders. We break it down for you, one box at a time.

13. Premier Protein

Billing itself as a healthy breakfast option, Premier Protein applies its muscle-building supplement mentality to create a chocolate cereal that makes no bones about its fudge-flavored aspirations. The one thing this crunchy, chocolatey challenger has that no other box in the bunch can claim is, you guessed it, maximum protein. The added punch of 20 grams of protein in a one-cup serving staunchly supports the claim that there are buffed-up benefits among these highly cocoa-coated flakes. Add in a modest 5 grams of sugar and 14 grams of total carbs, and you have an actual health-forward chocolate cereal that should taste like dessert.

Rather than living up to its potential as a total flavor bomb, Premier Protein has a flavor that totally bombs. This has a great deal to do with the artificial sweetener that replaces sugar. With Stevia as the ingredient of choice, every bite comes with an aftertaste that can't be dismissed. It stays with you long after you've stopped crunching and makes you regret your choice of cereal. If you're starstruck in the breakfast lane by the super-chocolatey photo on the front of the box, the terrible taste that waits inside is sure to set you straight.

12. Oreo O's

Oreo cookies passed through the shrink ray and turned into bowl-filling chocolate cereal oh-so-cleverly called Oreo O's? Yes, please and thank you. Who wouldn't love having one of the most beloved creations in snacking history for breakfast in a way that inspires less judgment than just dunking cookies in coffee? The possibilities are so delicious. Sweet teeth everywhere are set to tingle at the mere thought. Though Oreos come in a variety of flavors, Oreo O's focuses on the peerless original, a combo that sparked the cookies-and-cream movement in everything from ice cream to protein bars. Is having breakfast food that moves dessert to the front of the menu too big a dream to entertain? Not if Post Consumer Brands has anything to say about it.

Unfortunately, the dream is shattered once you realize these O's don't measure up to the heritage they bear. A strange powdered milk sourness overwhelms the chocolate and cream flavors, though milk doesn't appear on the ingredient list. How could such a potential win turn into so striking a loss? It's paradigm-shifting moments like this that lead shoppers to search for other ways to conquer their early morning chocolate yearnings in better cereals.

11. Cocoa Puffs

If Sonny the Cuckoo bird smiling like a sugar-scarfing mad bird on the box isn't enough to sell Cocoa Puffs, the supremely chocolatey flavor is bound to. Despite tossing out seasonal variations like Swiss Miss Cocoa Puffs that add crunchy little marshmallows to the usual beads, Cocoa Puffs have kept it cool and steady through the years. It's a fixture for generations who know a bowl of cereal for breakfast is the next best thing to cookies and milk. Even though Sonny the Cuckoo bird has chilled out a bit and matured into a much more stable mascot, as reported by Clickhole, the clear audience here is youth. Surely this staple of so much childhood eating retains the nostalgia and calls to mind the best of before-school dining and weekend snack attacks.

Actually, no. It doesn't. Disappointment awaits anyone with animated childhood memories of a feathery flier with a flyaway hairdo bouncing to and fro while crowing about how cuckoo he is for Cocoa Puffs. Maybe the formula changed, or maybe it was always this unappetizing, and we were too young to care. Either way, other chocolate cereals have this box beat. Sometimes, growing up and moving on is a good thing.

10. Cocoa Dyno Bites

When budget is a consideration, Malt-O-Meal bagged cereal makes a great second-tier option for chocolate cereal fans to enjoy. Cocoa Dyno Bites are the company's sweet stab at recreating a chocolatey rice-based breakfast at a better price than the tonier name brands. As the MinnPost reports, Malt-O-Meal was originally a hot cereal that stood shoulder to shoulder with oatmeal. Decades of evolution saw the company expand into the dry cereal sector, offering one-offs of familiar creations with sneakily similar names. The association with other chocolate rice cereals with prehistoric branding is enough to draw attention to Malt-O-Meal's more attractively priced options.

Though actual dinosaurs may not have made it past the Cretaceous Period, Cocoa Dyno Bites have held their place in the breakfast aisle. As far as quality goes, it seems difficult to ruin chocolate-covered rice, which this bag does not. This is neither good nor bad, which also sums up the flavor of this cereal. It's near enough to real Cocoa Pebbles to make the decision a no-brainer when doing a price comparison. But that isn't nearly tasty enough to make this chocolate cereal competitor anything more than an also-ran in our best-of challenge.

9. Chocolate Frosted Flakes

Tony the Tiger isn't fooling around when he says how great Frosted Flakes are, and breakfast lovers have proven him correct since the cereal debuted in 1952, as stated by Frosted Flakes. So what happens when cocoa joins the parade, and the formula becomes Chocolate Frosted Flakes? Does the added flavor upset the scale between the earthy corn of the flake and the gentle added sweetness? Sometimes adding new elements is a power move worth making, and sometimes it's just a mistake.

For Chocolate Frosted Flakes, the modulation toward a chocolate-centric variant is uninspired at best. Though there's an abundance of cocoa glaze coating the flakes, the flavor that comes through more than chocolate is honey. Frosted Flake fans will be disappointed that this additional sweetness overtakes the lighter taste of the original version, while chocolate lovers won't find anything here they can't already get in other cereals. Tony and company get points for trying to keep up with the crowd, but in this case, they're not leading from behind. They're just behind. And that's not great.

8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios

Chocolate and peanut butter are usually a win when it comes to sweet flavor blends, a fact that Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios tries to prove without overplaying its hand. The combination is so closely associated with candy and desserts you can find entire collections of peanut butter recipes in which chocolate gets a co-starring credit. When a proven product like Cheerios jumps on the bandwagon, the result should be something beautiful. At least, that's the hope for anyone who spies the enticing image on the front of the box.

Sadly, those hopes were destined to be dashed into a thousand ring-shaped bits. With so many more flavorful options on the list, the trend toward subtlety here turns out to be a disadvantage. This Cheerio variant is not the tastiest treat found at the breakfast table. The flavor tends to wear off after the third chew, morphing from a sweet-ish chocolate-peanut butter blend into something that tastes like burnt sadness. Despite the banner announcing the inclusion of real cocoa and peanut butter, there isn't a lot of taste bud action that represents the best form of those two add-ins. There's not much to cheer about with these O's.

7. Cocoa Pebbles

The Flintstones seem like unexpected mascots for Cocoa Pebbles, a cereal that's never made excuses about being aimed at kids. Though the show became a cartoon classic with the younger set, it was originally intended for adults as an animated version of The Honeymooners, as explained in The Guardian. But children grow up, of course, and they take their sweet memories of cereals past with them into adulthood. All of which is to say, Fred and Barney on the box are giving chocolate cereal lovers of any age the go-ahead to dip into this fudgy rice-based cereal and enjoy a buzzy ride.

So how does the paleolithic rice cereal originally tied to animation for an older crowd hold up? About as well as the dinosaurs after the comet showed up. Beneath the super-sweet chocolate-adjacent flavor of these bits is a strangely metallic tang that rises to the surface and doesn't go away no matter how many bites you take. It's a reminder that childhood memories are usually more sugar-coated than the reality behind them. Regardless of the cereal, Cocoa Pebbles are still the best by far for turning ordinary milk into a chocolate milk lover's dream come true.

6. Chocolate Cheerios

Adding chocolate to a health-leaning stalwart like Cheerios seems like a sure way to ruin a good thing — or a great idea to improve a boring thing, depending on your feelings about these largely unflavored oat-based O's. But Chocolate Cheerios takes a tasteful turn by adding a cocoa coating to its mediocre cereal and glows up into a slightly more impressive breakfast treat with actual flavor. The box proudly proclaims the inclusion of real cocoa among the ingredients to maintain its nutritious standing, though the list also includes sugar and corn syrup — no need to wring all the fun out of chocolate cereal.

As for the flavor itself, these tiny tidbits tend toward the dark side of the chocolate spectrum, an advisable bit of restraint that keeps the cereal squarely in the adult breakfast universe. And lest Cheerio choosers forget that they're making smarter moves in the heart-healthy dietary direction, the O's are interspersed with pieces shaped like little hearts. Sweet, clever, and tasty elements combine to make a winsome triple play. Overall, Chocolate Cheerios are a good choice for a walk-don't-run introduction to a sweeter morning, especially for anyone breaking good in favor of more healthful eating.

5. Chocolate Strawberry Cheerios

In addition to being the Valentine's Day flavor of the cereal world, Chocolate Strawberry Cheerios are shaped like tiny hearts, a fun twist that reminds you how much General Mills loves you and your grocery money. Though the box clearly states that this is a limited-edition flavor with holiday-of-love leanings, we found plenty hanging around the Walmart cereal section at the start of summer. Did heartsick lovers around kitchen tables everywhere forgo celebrating their special day with heart-shaped bits in their breakfast bowls? Or did General Mills create an overstock that has a shelf life that lasts long past February 14? Quite a mystery.

Well, it's bad news for the hungry lovers who lost out but great news for sharp-eyed cereal fans. This blend of sweet and somehow sweeter comes through with flying colors — pink and brown, naturally. The strawberry flavor is sprightly and joyous, similar to Crunch Berries, which blends perfectly with the chocolatey goodness. It's a mix that captured our hearts and landed this mix in the top five. Not too shabby for an overlooked wallflower that stayed too long at the dance and ended up being a runner-up for the life of the breakfast party.

4. Chocolate Chex

Hearing the name Chocolate Chex raises images of slicing your doormat into bite-sized squares and then adding cocoa powder to every third piece. Chex cereal leans so hard into the savory side of what a cereal can be as it's better known in its Chex Party Mix form than as a morning starter. Soaked in butter and seasoned to high heaven with pretzels and mixed nuts, Chex is a crowd-pleaser. But it's no rival for sweeter breakfast cereals, even those with health-conscious leanings. Could a smattering of chocolate possibly move the needle in any direction?

The pleasant surprise of an answer is a wholehearted yes, indeed. The flavor artists at General Mills took a cue from the company's popular Chex Muddy Buddies snacks, affectionately known as puppy chow, and added ample amounts of sweetened cocoa powder to their corn squares. The result is a cereal so surprisingly chocolatey it had to come in near the top of the rankings. This is one breakfast food as delicious dry as it is topped with milk. A caveat to the cereal fans: if you start snacking, be prepared to clean out the box. A hard-learned lesson but a tasty one.

3. Krave

Krave is a premium chocolate cereal selection, hovering near the top of the pricing spectrum. If you don't mind paying for quality, snatching up a box will be money well spent. Even the name is boastful, declaring the cereal something to long for — and purposely misspelling the word with a big, splashy Kellogg's K, no less. Isn't this a dicey move for food with so much competition for cart share? Shouldn't a chocolatey cereal humble itself, knowing that without a cartoon character jazzing up the box, it could easily be overlooked as a faux health food that could never live up to the bravado?

As it turns out, Krave is a triumph that backs up its swagger. Design is half the prestige in this box, with pieces forgoing the usual flake — or ball-shape in favor of a poufy rectangle. Who doesn't love pillows of cereal wrapped around an inner puff of creamy chocolate? Krave consists of dollops of chocolate frosting wrapped in Cap'n Crunch-like shells, creating a perfect duet of taste and texture. The truth behind Krave is that it's not healthy food, but hey, not many top-ranking chocolate cereals are. With taste on the line, Krave comes through.

2. Kashi Go Chocolate Crunch

As described on their website, Kashi began in 1984 as a California health food company. Through the years, the organization has maintained its commitment to providing thoughtful options for cautious breakfast fans. With Kashi Go Chocolate Crunch, this long-lasting outlet has created one of the best-tasting chocolate cereals around without compromising their nutritional integrity. It seems strange that, among a flavor-driven field so filled with possibilities, one of the simplest formulas turns out to be one of the most delicious as well. But Kashi defies expectations to take second place in our ranking, a turn of events even Nostradamus couldn't have seen coming. And he saw a lot of things.

The wildly textural nature of various bits and bites in Kashi may not seem like an obvious fit for the addition of chocolate. But this granola-like base was crying out for something softer amidst the crunchy nuggets and crisped rice, and chocolate coating and chips turn out to be the ideal candidates for the job. Whole grains and 10 grams of protein in a 3/4 cup serving mark this mix as a more mindful choice than some of the other members of the Chocolate Cereal Club.

1. Reese's Puffs

Who knew Reese's Peanut Butter Cups could translate into such a satisfying cereal? Pretty much everyone, which is why Reese's Puffs takes the top on the list. Is this essentially candy in cereal form? Yes, it is. Does that make it less than ideal as a breakfast food? Absolutely. But is it an inspired creation that captures exactly what the name says: puffs of Reese's goodness that you can pour into a bowl, cover with milk, and lose your blissful little soul in? One-hundred percent. No other chocolate cereal in the collection approaches the heights Puffs ascend to. Translating a candy, the Institute of Food Technologists labels the one item trick-or-treaters in the U.S. love finding in their bag more than any other, into cereal is a stroke of diabolical genius.

Why does Reese's Puffs top the list? The flavor. The coating on every orb gives the sensation of eating cereal dusted with your favorite chocolate milk mix and magical peanut butter powder. Though the sugar content may make some think twice before eating Reese's Puffs, if chocolatey cereal is the name of the game, then this highly flavorful box takes the trophy.